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New equipment coming in as WVIK reaches 50% of goal

Halfway to its capital campaign goal of $750,000, WVIK is wasting no time in making some core improvements with an eye on the future of radio technology.

The station has purchased a $150,000 Nautel NV40 transmitter that will broadcast both analog and digital signals, said General Manager Jay Pearce. Pearce and his team now are determining the specifications for a new antenna which will be built by the manufacturer Electronics Research, Inc., to go with the transmitter.

"Our current main transmitter is 20 years old. Imagine using a 20-year old-computer on a daily basis," said Pearce. "The new transmitter will be much more reliable. And it is ready for the future.

"More car makers are installing HD (hybrid digital) radios in their cars each year, and the number of radio stations adopting the technology is increasing. So, as the 'cart and horse' scenario plays out, the technology will become more commonplace each year. We must be ready for it."

He said a digital transmitter allows a station to send more than one signal and so offer multiple channels. Many public radio stations use the technology to offer, for instance, an all-news and talk channel as well as an all-music channel.

HD also offers a cleaner sound, Pearce said.

"I have several HD radios and when I compare an analog broadcast to an HD broadcast, the difference is comparable to the difference between listening to a vinyl record and a CD. This is very similar to what we have come to know on the television side. With high definition television, the picture is much clearer. And stations broadcast multiple channels."

Listeners with the standard analog radio receives will still be able to hear WVIK, just not with the clearer HD signal, he said.

In addition to offering digital channels and better sound, the Nautel NV40 will save the station some money.

"The new transmitter is solid state, which means it does not have tubes which need to be replaced every 12-18 months," Pearce said. "Currently the main tube costs several thousand dollars. So, we'll save that each year.'

Campaign funds also will be used for building repair and remodeling, to begin this fall and finish by the end of 2013. Funds also will be used to replace an aging heating and cooling system, and upgrade the backup generator necessary to keep the station on the air during emergencies. Also, studios will get upgraded consoles used to operate the CD players and sound equipment, plus new paint and carpet.

The capital campaign continues through Dec. 31, 2012.